One thing appears certain after Queensland’s 26-18 State of Origin II loss to NSW on Wednesday night – Greg Inglis is back.
But the Maroons still questioned one aspect of a revitalised Inglis’ game two effort – his crucial disallowed try.
Showing no signs of his illness-marred game one display, Inglis brought an Origin record 91,513-strong MCG crowd to its feet when he scooped up a Mitch Pearce loose ball and raced 90m to cross in the 68th minute and gift Queensland the lead.
Or so they thought.
The video referee ignored the whistleblower’s “try” recommendation and ruled Michael Morgan had knocked on while jolting the ball free from NSW No.6 Pearce in the lead-up.
“It was a tough one. It was awarded a ‘try’ (by the on-field referee) so there was a lot of doubt over whether it was knocked on,” Queensland coach Mal Meninga said.
“But that was the rub of the green – a lot of things went against us and the opposition capitalised on it.”
Queensland captain Cameron Smith was more adamant on Inglis’ effort.
“It was a 50-50 call. (But) I didn’t think there was a knock-on there,” he said.
“I thought when the ball came out it headed towards our try-line – but I was wearing a Maroon jersey though wasn’t I?”
Maroons fullback Billy Slater also thought it was a try.
“Those little decisions didn’t go our way tonight,” he said.
“But we lost the game, we didn’t complete as good as we did in the first one and that certainly hurt us.”
Still, there was plenty to be excited about in Inglis’ game two display – and for NSW to be worried about.
Inglis was a shell of himself in Queensland’s 11-10 game one win after spending three nights in hospital while being treated for tonsillitis in the lead-up.
However, the South Sydney captain was back to his barnstorming best in game two.
He combined brilliantly with his “wingman” Darius Boyd to score an Origin record 16th try in the 33rd minute to reduce NSW’s lead to 12-10.
Incredibly it marked his first Origin try since 2013’s game two, snapping a five match drought.
Inglis racked up a remarkable seven tackle busts to amass 128m for the match to confirm he was truly back to his ominous best.
Slater agreed Inglis was impressive but still tried to defend the centre’s underwhelming Origin I display.
“I saw that GI (on Wednesday night) in game one,” he said.
“He didn’t get as many opportunities but he was physical in defence.
“But he was great tonight, probably one of our best.”
Asked about a “fantastic” Inglis’ 90m effort that ultimately led to a disallowed try, Meninga quipped: “I reckon that’s the quickest he’s moved for a while to be honest.”
And it seems he is not showing any signs of slowing down ahead of a crunch Origin III in Brisbane on July 8.